Skip to main content

Full text of "History And Human Relation"

See other formats


MARXIST   HISTORY

modern bourgeois world—differences which he sees
running through the whole structure of the resulting
civilisation* What may be true over long periods in
the last resort becomes, however, a pitfall for those
Marxists who lack the required elasticity, and apply
the formula by a kind of rule of thumb to short-term
changes and to the detailed happenings of a narrower
world. There is a fallacy, furthermore, in any attempt
to trace historical change back to some economic cause,
or indeed to any other cause, which is presumed to
operate " in the last resort". In history things become
so entangled with one another, forces and factors so
intricately interwoven, that it is difficult to take even
the first steps in the delicate work of their unravelling.
When I look at the complicated network of history,
when I put the microscope at any point in the story and
observe the multiplicity of the interactions, I wonder
how anybody can dare to say that he can put his finger
on a given thread in the tangle and claim it as the
" essential" one* It is hazardous to assert that one
has reached the last irreducible factor or the truth that
lies at the bottom of the well.

One could not accept without serious thought any
view which seizes upon some particular thing in history
and regards it as being on successive occasions the very
starting-point of historical change, It is not incon-
. ceivable to me, however, that some economic factor or
some very tangible material thing should stand as a kind
of pivot on which the history of a civilisation turns;
and in a general sense the Marxian view of history may
give the academic student the healthy reminder that his

H.H.R,                           81                                 F